United Hospital Fund established the Medicaid Institute in 2005 to provide information and analyses examining New York’s Medicaid program and to help all stakeholders build a more effective health care system for low-income New Yorkers.

New Yorkers Receive Affordable Health Insurance through Medicaid

Medicaid provides comprehensive health care services to a diverse group of low-income New Yorkers, including:

  • children 
  • adults 
  • people with disabilities 
  • older adults 

New York Medicaid Covers Several Million New Yorkers

A significant proportion of children, at birth and throughout childhood, receive essential well baby and child health care as Medicaid members. Many low-wage working adults also receive affordable health care access through Medicaid. The program also provides the majority of long-term care services, including home- and community-based services, nursing home care, and other assistance for people with disabilities or long-term care needs. 

Medicaid is a countercyclical program: enrollment in it rises during periods of increased unemployment as individuals lose income and employer-sponsored insurance. Apart from economic downturns, the number of New Yorkers enrolled in Medicaid has also increased as a result of recent state and federal changes, both legislative and regulatory: streamlined eligibility and enrollment requirements, expanded Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act, eased access to coverage through the New York State of Health insurance marketplace, and expanded immigrant eligibility.

How Medicaid Supports New Yorkers

New York provides most Medicaid benefits through managed care organizations, private health insurance companies. Over the past several years, nearly all Medicaid members and benefits have been shifted to managed care. New York has also changed how services are delivered and paid for, including recent investments in delivery system reforms and progress toward value-based payment. As New York continues to transition to value-based payment, focusing on quality rather than quantity, it moves away from the traditional fee-for-service model of care. 

How UHF Is Helping Improve Medicaid

UHF’s Medicaid Institute provides independent information and analyses in partnership with the New York State Department of Health and other stakeholders. Specifically, the Medicaid Institute:

  • Produces analyses and other information to shape discussions of Medicaid policy and implementation
  • Convenes and engages stakeholders to inform policy analyses, disseminate knowledge, identify best practices, and discuss policy and operational opportunities and challenges 
  • Facilitates and manages specific policy development and review processes 

Through these activities, the UHF Medicaid Institute informs policymakers and the public on key Medicaid issues and helps strengthen the program, which is a vital source of coverage and health care for New York.

Contact: Alexandra Brandes

New York Medicaid Dashboards
Statistics on a program serving more than 7 million New Yorkers

UHF's Medicaid Institute prepares and maintains a set of data visualizations that support better understanding of New York Medicaid. They display objective and publicly available information about Medicaid enrollment, enrollment by eligibility group, and expenditures. The interactive figures were prepared by UHF’s Medicaid Institute using Tableau and are updated regularly.

Vew Dashboards
The Medicaid Institute Team
Emily Arsen, MPH

Emily produces data analyses, writes policy memos, and facilitates convenings that support the improvement of the New York State Medicaid program.

Before joining UHF in 2019, Emily worked on system process improvement at Mount Sinai Health System and provided technical assistance and program evaluation on grants for federal agencies including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Office of Minority Health.

Emily holds a Master of Public Health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a Bachelor of Arts from Barnard College.

Alexandra Brandes, JD, MPH
Alexandra Brandes, JD, MPH

Alex leads UHF’s team of research and policy staff in analysis, convening, and policy development, partnering with the New York State Department of Health and other stakeholders to improve the State’s Medicaid program, which serves over 7 million New Yorkers.

Before joining UHF in 2020, Alex served as Policy & Advocacy Manager; Supervising Attorney, Health Care Access Project; and Health Care & Elder Law Attorney for Lenox Hill Neighborhood House. There she represented clients in health care and public benefits proceedings, created Medicaid trusts, and executed wills and other advance directives. She also supervised navigators, advocates, and attorneys who helped clients enroll, maintain, and enforce their rights in health care and public benefits. 

Alex also served as a US Agency for International Development Consultant and Global Health Fellow from 2014-2015, where she focused on anti-discrimination for key populations for HIV/AIDS. She has worked with AIDSLaw of Louisiana, Southern Louisiana Legal Services, the New York Legal Assistance Group, the Secretariat of Environmental Matters for the CAFTA-DR in Guatemala, and the American Cancer Society as a bilingual patient navigator in Texas. 

She earned both a Doctor of Law and a Master of Public Health degree from Tulane University and a Bachelor of Arts from Portland State University. Alex is licensed to practice law in New York and Massachusetts. She was given the Bank of America Emerging Leader Award in 2017.

Alex volunteers with Project ANAR, helping with humanitarian parole applications for Afghani refugees, and the Safe Passage Project to help children apply for special immigrant juvenile status and asylum.